44 Mooji Quotes on Love, Life, and Silence

Mooji Quotes

The spiritual path can be long, complicated and arduous. This is why traditions from all over the world have emphasised the importance of finding an authentic teacher.

Of the well known modern teachers, Mooji is held in very high regard and considered to be from a well respected modern non-dual lineage. He was a disciple of Papaji, himself a discipline of the 20th-century sage Ramana Maharshi. Moojis spiritual path was primarily that of Bhakti Yoga, the path of loving devotion.

Born in Jamaica, he emigrated to London in his mid-teens and was an art teacher before a chance meeting with a Christian mystic resulted in his moving to India in search of Enlightenment. It was there he met Papaji whom many considered a living enlightened master.

Since 1999 Mooji has been teaching non-duality, a philosophy meaning  “not two,” under which a group of spiritual traditions fall whereby the intention is to see the illusion of the I-other dichotomy. After having seen through this illusion, you work towards making this realisation part of your permanent state of being and experience what some in the West would call ego death.

Here are 44 quotes from Sri Mooji on Love, Life, and Silence.

Mooji Quotes On Love and Gratitude

“If you could look inside the heart of any and every single human being, you would fall in love with them completely. If you see the inside as it really is and not as your mind projects it to be, you would be so purely in love with the whole thing.”

Your heart is the light of this world. Don’t cover it with your mind.

“Your mantra is thank you. Just keep saying thank you. Don’t explain. Don’t complain. Just say thank you. Say thank you to Existence.”

“All the ups and downs are grace in different wrappings, sent to refine consciousness. Say thanks to them all.”

“Don’t remind the world that it is sick and troubled. Remind it that it is beautiful and free.”

Mooji Quotes On the Nature of the Self

“If you take yourself to be the body and mind only, you will die! When you discover yourself as awareness, the fear of death will not trouble you any longer.”

Trying to understand consciousness with your mind is like trying to illuminate the sun with a candle.

You are human and divine. You human troubles help you discover your divine nature.

“Once you begin to recognise the divine gifts in life, you come to see that there are so many. Your life is abundant.”

“The greatest healing would be to wake up from what we are not.”

“To change the world is not your business. To change yourself is not your duty. To awaken to your true nature is your opportunity.”

“I don’t have to be anything at all. I don’t even have to be myself, because there is no such thing as not being myself. I am inescapably myself.”

It takes a lot of energy to be a person. It takes no energy to be yourself.

It is not what the ego says. It is how much it is believed.”

“Everything is just now. Your existence is just now. Just timeless Now. All the rest is just a dream due to conditioning and memory.”

“You are the unchanging manifesting as the changefulness.”

Mooji Quotes On Letting Go

“Open your windows. Open your doors. Open your mind, your eyes and your heart to Truth. Openness is a prerequisite on the path to freedom. Open up and let Grace enter at will.”

“Go beyond everything. Don’t collect anything. A king does not need to go shopping in his own kingdom….Remember, you are the inner reality, pure awareness. All that arises are appearances in consciousness.”

“Don’t be a storehouse of memories. Leave past, future and even present thoughts behind. Be a witness to life unfolding by itself. Be free of all attachments, fears and concerns by keeping your mind inside your own heart. Rest in being. Like this, your life is always fresh and imbued with pure joy and timeless presence. Be happy, wise and free.”

“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.

“You need nothing to be happy – you need something to be sad.”

“Surrender is not a weakness it is strength. It takes tremendous strength to surrender life to the supreme – to the cosmic unfolding.”

“The greatest step towards a life of happiness and simplicity is to let go. Trust in the power that is already taking care of you spontaneously without effort.”

“Let it be whatever it will be. Give up trying to manipulate. This is freedom.

“When you don’t want to be interesting you are free.”

“Throw everything away, forget about it all! You are learning too much, remembering too much, trying too hard . . . relax a little bit, give life a chance to flow its own way, unassisted by your mind and effort. Stop directing the river’s flow.”

Mooji Quotes On Silence and Stillness

“The way is not really a way. It is a depth. It is not a distance. It is a deepening into the stillness, stabilising in the unmoving. It is not a walking journey. Journeys are for the body and the ego-mind. But the subtlety of intuitive seeing takes you deeper into the bliss of the knowable.”

“If you give yourself one complete minute of focused presence, to simply stop; even to listen to your heart beating, it will take you out of your head and introduce you to the moment which is complete in itself. It is not on the way to another moment.”

“Don’t be too quick to interpret the moment. Just keep quiet. My encouragement would always be: never think anything is against you, everything is a blessing. Why should it be different? Just be quiet. Let it all work itself out.”

“You say you want to get rid of the noise, but you and the noise go together. You have to be you without ‘you’ and all noise will stop. The real You is the formless witness within. The person, the noisy one, is only imagined. To recognize this is Freedom.”

“There is a mystery within all beings bursting to reveal itself, in the ones who become quiet enough to discover it.”

You have all the power to stay in your neutrality, in the height of your being. When you observe with detachment, you enter and move into the field of presence. This is a higher altitude than the claustrophobic realm of personhood. This is the dimension of the real.”

“There is a presence, a silence, a stillness which is here by itself. There is no doer of it, no creator of this stillness. It is simply here in you, with you. It is the fragrance of your own self. There is nothing to do about this, it is naturally present. This fragrance of peace, this spaciousness, it is the fragrance of your own being.”

Mooji Quotes On Life

“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.”

“When you live guided by intuition rather than thought, your life dances like writing on water, fresh and untraceable.”

“Live by the light of your own heart… but make sure this heart is silent and empty.”

“Life cannot be against you, for you are Life itself. Life can only seem to go against the ego’s projections, which are rarely the truth.”

“Your urge to control life controls you.”

You ask: How to live my life? But with that question you are suffocating life itself, for life is spontaneity.

Dying to your own attachments is a beautiful death. Because this death releases you into real life. You have to die as a seed to live as a tree.

Life is best when life is simple.

“If you seek approval from others in this world, you will not know happiness.”

“In the land of “I know,” there is always competitiveness, jealousy, pretence, pride and arrogance. It is an aggressive realm – the realm of the ego. I say refuse citizenship. In the land of “I don’t know,” the inhabitants move without conflict and are naturally quiet, happy and peaceful. The wise stay here.”

“It is not wise to compare your life to that of others, for each life stream is unique and is the expression of pure spirit and being.”

For more quotes about spirituality and awakening check out some more Project Monkey Mind posts:

35 Viktor Frankl Quotes on the Meaning of Life, Love, and Suffering

52 Michael A. Singer Quotes About Surrender

26 Carlos Castaneda Quotes To Awaken Your Inner Shaman

21 Viktor Frankl Quotes on the Meaning of Life, Love, and Suffering

Viktor Frankl Quotes

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” – Erich Fromm

When we intuit authority or truth to someone else’s words of wisdom, we could say that we are instinctively judging them on three things.

Firstly, the validity of their experience. We need to know that they have firsthand experience with the peaks and troughs of life, that they haven’t been sheltered from either the extreme good or bad sides of human nature. We also consider the context within which their ideas are being expressed, and try to gauge if they’re still relevant for us.

Secondly, we look at their motives. What do they stand to gain from the wisdom that is being shared? Is there a monetary incentive? Do they have a heavy cultural or experiential bias in favour of the view that they’re sharing?

Finally, we consider their history and relationship with suffering. Suffering is the common thread which ties together any searches for meaning and resulting wisdom. The seeking in and of itself to be said to a universal reaction to the tension of human existence.

When we consider these three criteria, Viktor Frankl is one man who manages to tick all boxes.

An Austrian Psychotherapist, Frankl was the found of logotherapy, a method of existential analysis that placed meaning and suffering as the cornerstone around which much psychological dysfunction could be assessed and treated.

Frankl’s ideas can be summarised in three points:

  1. Our primary motivation is our will to find meaning in life
  2. Meaning can be found in any circumstances when we give ourselves over to something greater than our self, whether that is a cause or another person
  3. We always have the freedom to find meaning, even in the face of unchangeable suffering

However, Frankl’s psychoanalytic views were not merely theory. In fact, they were practical in every sense, as in 1944 he was sent to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, and forced to explore his beliefs right down to their core.

A combination of luck and will allowed him to survive the experience, and he went on to write his seminal work ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ which has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into 24 languages.

When we look at his life in context, Frankl’s ideas emerge from a compelling experience, his motives are pure – he originally intended to publish the book anonymously – and his relationship with suffering unquestionable. To that end, the wisdom he offers transcends his time, and his books are incredibly valuable.

I STRONGLY recommend you watch this short video before reading the quotes, it will give you a richer understand of the context in which his profound words emerged!

So, without further ado, here are 35 quotes by Viktor Frankl on meaning, living, love, suffering, and compassion. This includes excerpts from his books Man’s Search For Meaning, Man’s Ultimate Search For Meaning, and The Doctor and the Soul.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Meaning

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.”

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

“The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. What is called self-actualisation is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualisation is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”

Though he underwent horrific life circumstances, Frankl’s drive to find meaning was insatiable. He was a firm believer in the ability for human beings to act with a degree of dignity regardless of their circumstances.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Living

“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living. Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although suffering is omnipresent.”

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

“It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.”

“We cannot, after all, judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it; we must judge by the richness of the contents…sometimes the ‘unfinished’ are among the most beautiful symphonies.” 

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”

 “The consciousness of one’s inner value is anchored in higher, more spiritual things, and cannot be shaken by camp life. But how many free men, let alone prisoners, possess it?”

“I do not forget any good deed done to me and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.”

Frankl’s commitment to personal responsibility and commitment to a higher cause was profound, and reflects an attitude of a lot of existential thinkers. Though a scientist, he deeply valued the spiritual nature of life, and took to it with a gratitude and a humor that we often find in eastern traditions.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Love

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self.”

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is able to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.”

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“I do not forget any good deed done to me and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.”

“I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.”

Frankl’s belief in the importance of love was a result of the unbelievable sustenance that his own love for his wife gave him during his time in Auschwitz. He saw love as a key ingredient that fuelled meaning, and found in his own experience that it made him more resilient than he could have imagined.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Suffering

“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

“It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.”

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour.”

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.”

“To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.”

“What is to give light must endure burning.”

Suffering, life love, was to Frankl another aspect of the human condition that was both fundamental and infinitely flexible. He noticed not only how far suffering could go, but also how human beings could respond to it and what could be learned from it.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Compassion

“Today’s society is characterized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and, in particular, it adores the young. It virtually ignores the value of all those who are otherwise, and in doing so blurs the decisive difference being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual’s value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, ‘mercy’ killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer.”

“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honest whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

“Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.”

“If we take man as he really is, we make him worse. But if we overestimate him…we promote him to what he really can be.”

Reading Frankl’s words, you understand that he was a deeply compassionate person. He was able to express sympathy for not only his fellow prisoners of war, but also his captors. This echoes ideas that have been explored in religions all around the world, particularly long-term meditators in the East, and is a direct result of his contact with such extreme aspects of human nature.

If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, please leave a comment in the comments section below or send me an email at ben@projectmonkeymind.com, I’d love to hear from you!

52 Michael Singer Quotes from The Surrender Experiment & The Untethered Soul

Michael A. Singer Quotes

Imagine this scene. 

You’re in a rigorous PhD program at a respected university, and suddenly and unexpectedly you have a spiritual awakening experience that completely changes how you see the universe. 

Instead of being driven by a mind full of preferences and opinions, you decide to let go and let the intelligence of the universe guide your life. Before long you’ve devoted your life to meditation and yoga, and you’ve been moved to live in the woods. This intelligence leads you to more insights and awakenings, and eventually back to the busy world of business where you found a Medical company that merges with WebMD and becomes a billion-dollar enterprise.

Crazy story? Sounds like something out of a movie. Well, it happened to Michael Singer. He went on to write two very popular books, The Untethered Soul (2007) and The Surrender Experiment (2015).

The Untethered Soul was the first bestselling book from Michael Singer. It was a more general book about the nature of mind, self and life, and drew heavily from yogic philosophy. Eventually, this book caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, which exploded its popularity and resulted in international exposure for Singer.

In 2015 Singer released The Surrender Experiment, a much more personal first-hand account of his journey with yoga, meditation, life and business. The themes in this book overlap greatly with The Untethered Soul, and there is an emphasis on surrendering to whatever happens in life without resistance. Spiritual autobiographies have a long history, and Singer has mentioned that Philip Kapleau’s book, The Three Pillars of Zen, as well as Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, were influential in his life and writing. 

There is a consistency between the themes explored by Singer and other modern spiritual teachers who draw from traditional wisdom paths such as Zen and Advaita Vedanta. However, though topics such as ego, surrender and spiritual practice, are touched on, the honesty of Singer’s experience makes his work honest and palatable.

Here are 52 quotes from Michael Singer from The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment!

The Untethered Soul Quotes

“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“Instead of being encouraged to feel completely protected, loved, honored, and respected by the Divine Force, you’ve been taught that you’re being judged. Because you’ve been taught that, you feel guilt and fear. But guilt and fear do not open your connection to the Divine; they only serve to close your heart. The reality is that God’s way is love, and you can see this for yourself.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“There is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“We are constantly trying to hold it all together. If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Acceptance means events can make it through you without resistance.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“The most important thing in life is your inner energy. If you’re always tired and never enthused, then life is no fun. But if you’re always inspired and filled with energy, then every minute of every day is an exciting experience. Learn to work with these things. Through meditation, through awareness and willful efforts, you can learn to keep your centers open. You do this by just relaxing and releasing.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“The psyche is built upon avoiding this pain, and as a result, it has fear of pain as its foundation. That is what caused the psyche to be. To understand this, notice that if the feeling of rejection is a major problem for you, you will fear experiences that cause rejection. That fear will become part of your psyche.”- Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you truly love someone, your love sees past their humanness” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Your eyes are not really windows through which you look out into the world. Your eyes are cameras that send electronic images of the world into you.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself  

“The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You really don’t need more time before death; what you need is more depth of experience during the time you’re given.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You don’t fight the mind. In fact, you don’t even try to change it. You just make a game out of relaxing in the face of its melodrama.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“What if you knew that the next person you’d see would be the last person you would ever see? You’d be right there soaking it in, experiencing it. It wouldn’t matter what they were saying; you’d just enjoy hearing the words because it would be the last conversation you’d ever have. What if you brought that kind of awareness to every conversation?” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Death changes everything in a flash. That’s the reality of the situation. If all these things can be changed in an instant, then maybe they aren’t so real after all.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

Michael Singer on How To Seperate The Voice In Your Head From The Real You

“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Eventually you will see that the real cause of the problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You gain nothing by being bothered by life’s events. It doesn’t change the world; you just suffer. There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there. This mental manipulation of the outer experience allows you to buffer reality as it comes in.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Fear is the cause of every problem. It’s the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger, jealousy, and possessiveness. If you had no fear, you could be perfectly happy living in this world.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Imagine if you used relationships to get to know other people, rather than to satisfy what is blocked inside of you. If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult. If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based upon what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with—and so are you. Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“It’s actually a shocking realization when you first notice that your mind is constantly talking. You might even try to yell at it in a feeble attempt to shut it up. But then you realize that’s the voice yelling at the voice:” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“When you feel pain, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of your consciousness. Then relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release. Relax your heart until you are actually face-to-face with the exact place where it hurts. Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper. This is very deep growth and transformation. But you will not want to do this. You will feel tremendous resistance to doing this, and that’s what makes it so powerful. As you relax and feel the resistance, the heart will want to pull away, to close, to protect, and to defend itself. Keep relaxing. Relax your shoulders and relax your heart. Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you. It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

Michael Singer On How To Free Yourself From Negative Thoughts

The Surrender Experiment Quotes

“Each of us actually believes that things should be the way we want them, instead of being the natural result of all the forces of creation.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I was not in charge, yet life continued to unfold as if it knew just what it was doing.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“That was the essence of my experiment with life: if it’s down to a matter of preference—life wins.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Just kept letting go and practicing nonresistance, whether I liked what was happening or not.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“At some point there’s no more struggle, just the deep peace that comes from surrendering to a perfection that is beyond your comprehension.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“No matter who we are, life is going to put us through the changes we need to go through. The question is: Are we willing to use this force for our transformation? I saw that even very intense situations don’t have to leave psychological scars, if we are willing to process our changes at a deeper level.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection  

“It seems as though life knew exactly what it was doing, and as usual, my mind knew nothing.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

Michael Singer on Why We Are Afraid of Change

“Instead of trying to free myself by constantly quieting the mind, perhaps I should be asking why the mind is so active. What is in the motivation behind all the mental chatter? If that motivation was to be removed, the struggle would be over.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I could see that the practice of surrender was actually done in two, very distinct steps: first, you let go of the personal reactions of like and dislike that form inside your mind and heart; and second, with the resultant sense of clarity, you simply look to see what is being asked of you by the situation unfolding in front of you.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“How could I possibly explain the great freedom that comes from realizing to the depth of your being that life knows what it’s doing?” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Time and again I was seeing that if I could handle the winds of the current storm, they would end up blowing in some great gift…Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Clearly remember deciding that from now on if life was unfolding in a certain way, and the only reason I was resisting it was because of a personal preference, I would let go of my preference and let life be in charge.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“My formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Because I had inwardly surrendered each step of the way, no scars were left of my psyche. It had been like writing on water – the impressions only lasted while the events were actually taking place.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“There was not much I could do but let go of my reaction.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I am so grateful that surrender had taught me to willingly participate in life’s dance with a quiet mind and an open heart.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Am I better off making up an alternate reality in my mind and then fighting with reality to make it be my way, or am I better off letting go of what I want and serving the same forces of reality that managed to create the entire perfection of the universe around me?” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Surrender – what an amazingly powerful world. It often engenders the thought of weakness and cowardice. In my case, it required all the strength I had to be brave enough to follow the invisible into the unknown.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

43 Life-Changing Quotes For When You Are Feeling Defeated

Feeling Defeated Quotes

“Life is like a boxing match, defeat is declared not when you fall, but when you refuse to stand again.” – Kristen Ashley

Everybody has had the experience of feeling defeated and discouraged. There is a universal resonance with the story of the hero who was down and out, ready to quit and give up. It’s natural, we’re all human beings. 

The word defeat comes from the Old French desfait, meaning to undo, to reduce to near nothing. When we feel like we’ve lost something, our energy is drained, and it is this lack of eagerness that we feel when we say we are defeated. But just because we feel defeated, it doesn’t mean that we are. Our energy naturally ebbs and flows, and while your brain might tell you that you want to quit one day, it’s likely to turn around after a good night sleep and say something completely different. 

Side note: If you are feeling defeated and depressed, it may be necessary to get some help. Here’s a list of crisis helplines by country if you’re having suicidal thoughts.

What does it mean to feel defeated?

Feeling defeated means that first and foremost you have something you were up against and you lost. This may be a goal, a relationship, a health problem, school, work, or any other challenge. 

To be defeated means that you have a sense that you’re down and out. The challenge in front may even appear to be insurmountable. Remember, the feeling is not the fact. Just because you experience an emotion it doesn’t make it a reality. For example, when the body is sick we often find ourselves impatient, negative and close-minded. The same is happening when you are exhausted, your mind starts to create images of a version of you that has lost.

For that reason, it’s important to stay motivated. To read positive quotes and be inspired by people who have overcome the same challenges that you’re going through.

The following quotes and sayings, should you be willing to look deeply into their meaning, will help you to see things from a new perspective, and hopefully inspire you to push on and keep going.

Quotes about feeling defeated in life

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald 

“The world isn’t sunshine and rainbows. It’ll beat you down if you let it, and nothing hits harder than life.” – Rocky Balboa

“I accept this defeat with humility and courage, and I welcome the next challenge with open arms.” – Anonymous

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” – Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, but even he suffered several loses. The difference is, he never chose to take any individual defeat as final. Ali always waited till he regained his strength and came back to face his challenges even after his loss to Leon Spinks, even after being stripped of his boxing license for opposing the Vietnam War.

“Perhaps someday I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” – Sylvia Plath

“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” – Ronald Reagan

“Setbacks in life are opportunities to perform at a new level.” – Willian Cranch Bond

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” – Rainer Mike Rilke

“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.” – Fernando Sabino

How do I get over a defeat?

Getting over a defeat requires patience, time and focus. Here are five tips to help you overcome a setback.

Define the enemy. When we say that we feel defeated we are presuming there is something that has defeated us. If we don’t even know what that thing is, it means that we don’t have clarity over our emotions. Sit down and really meditate on why you feel this way. Did you get rejected at a job interview? Are you trying to work on a project but you can’t muster the energy? What it is that has you feeling beaten?

Define failure and success. If you have now decided that you feel defeated, then you need to define what success and failure looks like. Take for example the case feeling like a loser at work. What does success at work mean to you? What does failure mean?  How can you try and win when you don’t even know what it is that you are losing?

Reframe Your Situation. When we feel like giving up, like we’ve lost and no longer have the energy to continue, it’s important to take a step back and get some new perspective. Instead of saying, I’ve lost. Say, I feel defeat today, but tomorrow is another opportunity to get back on the horse. 

Paint a picture of what success looks like. You cannot move forward without knowing which way to go. Once you’ve defined what success looks like, paint a clear image of the scenario in your mind. Some people call this positive visualisation. Your mind is attracted to what it knows, play a successful scenario in your head over and over, like a musician rehearsing a performance, and you’ll start to unconsciously gravitate towards optimism. 

Inspirational quotes about feeling defeated

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” – Zig Ziglar

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Nelson Mandela

“True defeat only happens if you stop. If you never stop, you’re never truly defeated.” – Anonymous

“He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity.” – William Samuel Johnson

“Defeat your fears and you can never be defeated.” – Jeffrey Fry

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

“See any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn’t work. Dare to let go and you won’t lose a thing except for a punishing idea.” – Guy Finley

“The defeat in your head is not the same as the defeat in your heart. If your head tells you to stop, try listening to your heart.” – Anonymous

“The gospel is for the defeated, not the dominant.” – Tullian Tchividjian

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

How do I stop myself from discouraging myself?

When a strong emotion catches hold of us it can create habit patterns in our mind. For example, negative emotions can create the habit of feeling like you’re not good enough. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to overcome the habit of discouraging yourself; do the opposite. You need to positively encourage yourself, over and over again.  

Quotes for when you feel like giving up and quitting

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino

“Tough times never last. Tough people do.” – Robert Schuller

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better we can bear a hardship today.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

“When you feel too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated, you are undeniably on the way to success.” – Dr Prem Jagyasi

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Ernest Hemingway

“Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.” – Richard M. Nixon

“You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you’re still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.” – Steve Maraboli

When You Feel Like Giving Up

Bible quotes about feeling defeated

The themes of battle, victory and defeat run consistently throughout the bible. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, agnostic, or atheist, you may still be able to find comfort in these words which have served so many people in history. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crush; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – Corinthians 4:8

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” – Corinthians 5:7

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” – Thessalonians 2:11-12

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” – Lamentations 3:22

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – Corinthians 16:13

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” – Psalm 34:19

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

“Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-56

“Taste and see that the Lord is god; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8

When You Feel Like Quitting


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35 Fyodor Dostoevsky Quotes on Love, God, Life, Death and Beauty

Fyodor Dostoevsky Quotes

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth” – Albert Camus

We read the quotes of great men and women for a number of reasons. To learn something new, to feel better about ourselves, to inspire love for life, because we’re bored, and sometimes simply out of a childlike curiosity.

But behind all these there’s a fundamental reason; to change the way we see the world.

The above quote by Albert Camus changed how I saw the world, and particularly how I saw the role of fiction in the world. I was always a lover of non-fiction books, and at one point I even thought fiction to be nothing more than entertainment.

But fiction can echo the most honest truths, truths that may be so profound (and at times disturbing) that we can’t even explain them explicitly.

And there is perhaps no novelist whose novels explored truer themes than Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky.

Born in Moscow in 1821, Dostoevsky, like his contemporaries Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, and Alexander Pushkin, is considered one of the most important novelists of the Golden Age of Russian literature. The words and quotes of Dostoevsky are incredibly profound.

He is known for the psychological and philosophical quality of his books, with characters that inhabit a vast moral spectrum and take on wildly varying positions as they examine and challenge social conventions. From nihilistic criminals to devout monks, his complex personas wrestle with difficult questions and disturbing truths.

In his twenties, Dostoevsky joined the Petrashevsky Circle, a group of progressive intellectual idealists. A few years later, he and other members of the group were arrested, put on trial, and convicted for anti-government activities. He and the others were sentenced to death and brought in front of a firing squad in 1849, but their sentences were commuted at the last minute.

Instead of being executed, Dostoevsky served four years in a Siberian labor camp before being released in 1854. These experiences had a significant influence on all of his subsequent writings, including his most famous works: Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov.

Dostoevsky is often referred to as one of the first existentialists. While the term “existentialism” was not coined until after the end of World War II, the school of thought is typically traced back to the mid-to-late nineteenth century and the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky.

Nietzsche rejected religion, but both Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky were devout Christians. However, what unites the three is their emphasis on a person’s responsibility to reckon with spiritual questions as an individual. Each in his own way examined what would become one of the hallmarks of the philosophy: the idea that freedom is not easy. To an existentialist, an individual is who they freely choose to be, defined by actions and choices instead of a pre-existing “essence.”

Traditional Christian virtues, especially selfless love, were of utmost importance to Dostoevsky. However, he did not assume these to be the default state of humanity, but achievements borne of spiritual discipline. To be moral is not to surrender freedom, but to act from freedom: to choose a moral course, even when it means turning toward suffering and sacrificing pleasure and comfort for the sake of others. Living in this way allows a person to overcome the corrupting forces of the world and to fully experience the beauty and goodness of life.

Dostoevsky Quotes

Dostoevsky Quotes On Love

“Fathers and teachers, I ponder, ‘What is hell?’ I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“Learning to love is hard and we pay dearly for it. It takes hard work and a long apprenticeship, for it is not just for a moment that we must learn to love, but forever.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying — to others and to yourself.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“Love a man even in his sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day, and you will come at last to love the world with an all-embracing love.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labour and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting farther from your goal instead of nearer to it — at that very moment I predict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“Love is such a priceless treasure that you can redeem the whole world by it, and cleanse not only your own sins but the sins of others.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

To Dostoevsky, love is the utmost virtue—the defining element of the Christian path and the moral life. In his view, love is not simply a feeling, but a course of action. To become able to love, a person must resist the urge to serve the self at the expense of others and choose to do the opposite: to serve others, even at the expense of the self. To love is to choose forgiveness over vengeance, generosity over self-indulgence, and hard truths over comforting lies.

The loving soul is forged in suffering and hardship, yet transcends them, opening up to a happiness that is independent of external circumstances. At times, love is hard work, but the one who loves needs little else to be happy. To love is to respond purely to life, to celebrate and affirm it even when it is difficult or painful. Love is its own light, a healing force that not only purifies the soul it arises from, but the souls of others who come into its presence. In Dostoevsky’s world, it is often the saving grace that allows a person to face a world of chaos and corruption.

Dostoevsky Quotes On Family

“And indeed, what aim in life is more important and sacred than a father’s? To what should one adhere, if not to one’s family?”

-The Idiot

“Even toil will be a joy, you may deny yourself bread for your children and even that will be a joy, They will love you for it afterwards; so you are laying by for your future.”

-Notes from Underground

“As the children grow up you feel that you are an example, a support for them; that even after you die your children will always keep your thoughts and feelings, because they have received them from you, they will take on your semblance and likeness. So you see this is a great duty.”

-Notes from Underground

“From the house of my childhood I have brought nothing but precious memories, for there are no memories more precious than those of early childhood in one’s first home. And that is almost always so if there is any love and harmony in the family at all. Indeed, precious memories may remain even of a bad home, if only the heart knows how to find what is precious.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“Love is a holy mystery and ought to be hidden from all other eyes, whatever happens. That makes it holier and better. They respect one another more, and much is built on respect. And if once there has been love, if they have been married for love, why should love pass away? Surely one can keep it! It is rare that one cannot keep it.

And if the husband is kind and straightforward, why should not love last? The first phase of married love will pass, it is true, but then there will come a love that is better still. Then there will be the union of souls, they will have everything in common, there will be no secrets between them. And once they have children, the most difficult times will seem to them happy, so long as there is love and courage.”

-Notes from Underground

Through his novels, Dostoevsky examined the ways families generate and sustain love, as well as the ways they can be corrupted and torn apart by hatred, jealousy, and vice. One of his most well-known books, The Brothers Karamazov, depicts the downfall of a family through the self-centred actions of its patriarch, Fyodor Pavlovich. Despite the profound goodness of one of the brothers, Alyosha, the life of the family is defined by the sins of the father and the son who is most like him.

Dostoevsky saw children as supremely vulnerable in their innocence and showed how profoundly they can suffer at the hands of cruel parents and the whims of a cold society. Yet just as an individual can embrace a spiritual path of love that defies worldly corruption, a family can provide a haven of love that protects and nurtures its members as they are tested by the world. To Dostoevsky, home should be a place of healing, a place where loving actions forge memories that live on in the hearts of the children long after they have grown up and left. The gifts of home are not given, however; they depend on the parents’ ability to embody and act from love, as well as on the children’s ability to recognize and accept the gifts of home.

Dostoevsky Quotes

Dostoevsky Quotes On Beauty

“Beauty will save the world.”

-The Idiot

“Silence is always beautiful, and a silent person is always more beautiful than one who talks.”

-The Adolescent

“Beauty is a terrible and awful thing! It is terrible because it has not been fathomed, for God sets us nothing but riddles.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“We don’t understand that life is heaven, for we have only to understand that and it will at once be fulfilled in all its beauty, we shall embrace each other and weep.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“She was very fond of thinking and getting at the truth of things… This naive combination in her of the child and the thinking woman, this childlike and absolutely genuine thirst for truth and justice, and absolute faith in her impulses—all this lighted up her face with a fine glow of sincerity, giving it a lofty, spiritual beauty, and one began to understand that it was not so easy to gauge the full significance of that beauty which was not all at once apparent to every ordinary unsympathetic eye.”

-Humiliated and Insulted

“The children of the sun, the children of their sun — oh, how beautiful they were! Never had I seen on our own earth such beauty in mankind. Only perhaps in our children, in their earliest years, one might find, some remote faint reflection of this beauty. The eyes of these happy people shone with a clear brightness. Their faces were radiant with the light of reason and fullness of a serenity that comes of perfect understanding, but those faces were gay; in their words and voices there was a note of childlike joy. Oh, from the first moment, from the first glance at them, I understood it all! It was the earth untarnished by the Fall; on it lived people who had not sinned. They lived just in such a paradise as that in which, according to all the legends of mankind, our first parents lived before they sinned; the only difference was that all this earth was the same paradise. These people, laughing joyfully, thronged round me and caressed me; they took me home with them, and each of them tried to reassure me. Oh, they asked me no questions, but they seemed, I fancied, to know everything without asking, and they wanted to make haste to smooth away the signs of suffering from my face.”

-The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Dostoevsky appreciated true beauty as the outward appearance of a loving soul, a radiance that emanates from underlying virtue. He was deeply suspicious of seductive surfaces and lamented those for whom beauty was all surface, an invitation to lust and to seek sensual pleasure even at the expense of others.

In The Brothers Karamazov, he compares the “beauty of the Madonna” to “the beauty of Sodom,” noting that while the former is more profound, the latter is what most people choose, often to disastrous results. Unlike that which activates the appetites, the deeper spiritual beauty Dostoevsky admired is a gateway to contemplation for the one who beholds it: an invitation to love and to look deeper.

The kind of beauty that nourishes rather than corrupts the soul arises from the perception of an underlying perfection. This is not the perfection of form, but of the spirit, and often lies beneath an apparently imperfect surface. To Dostoevsky, beauty arises from the recognition of paradise, or Heaven, in this very world. A beautiful soul is faithful, loving, and honest, uncontrived in the same way Eden was uncontrived. To such a soul, untwisted by vice and grasping greed, joy arises naturally and becomes a source of light for others.

Dostoevsky Quotes On God

“Without God all things are permitted.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“My friends, God is necessary for me if only because he is the one being who can be loved eternally.”

-The Possessed

“God is necessary, and therefore must exist… But I know that he does not and cannot exist… Don’t you understand that a man with these two thoughts cannot go on living?”

-The Possessed

There is no sin, and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love of God?”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“Obedience, fasting, and prayer are laughed at, yet only through them lies the way to real true freedom. I cut off my superfluous and unnecessary desires, I subdue my proud and wanton will and chastise it with obedience, and with God’s help I attain freedom of spirit and with it spiritual joy.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“If I seem happy to you . . . You could never say anything that would please me more. For men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a right to say to himself, ‘I am doing God’s will on earth.’ All the righteous, all the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky characters represent his own process of dealing with faith. While he was ultimately a believer, and while he felt a special affection for his most devout characters, Dostoevsky admitted that he struggled in his spiritual life: “My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt,” he said. The suffering he witnessed in the world was hard for him to reconcile with God’s omnipotence and love. Yet in his own life and through his characters’ journeys, Dostoevsky saw how love and suffering were deeply connected—the latter of which often gave rise to the former. He observed that true joy was only possible through the practice and realization of active love, which is tested and strengthened through suffering.

While it is impossible to know exactly what was in his mind at the end of his life, his life’s journey mirrors those of his most faithful characters. Biographies show that Dostoevsky’s final years were a period of increasing peace for him, a time when he turned away from former vices and toward the redemptive, loving faith he wrote about in his final work and magnum opus, The Brothers Karamazov. His life and works stand as a testament to a man who took spiritual questions seriously and was ultimately able to reconcile himself with his life and with God.

Dostoevsky Quotes on Love

Dostoevsky Quotes On Death

“Take a soldier and put him right in front of a cannon in a battle and fire it at him, and he’ll go on hoping, but read out a certain death sentence to that same soldier, and he’ll go mad, or start to weep.”

-The Idiot

“Where is it I’ve read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he’d only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so than to die at once. Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!”

-Crime and Punishment

“He went up to his room like a man who has been condemned to death. His mind was completely empty, and he was quite incapable of filling it with anything; but with his whole being he suddenly felt that he no longer possessed any freedom of thought or of will, and that everything had suddenly been decided once and for all.”

-Crime and Punishment

“But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like the chess player, loves only the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (one cannot swear to it), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, or in other words, in life itself, and not particularly in the goal which of course must always be two times two makes four, that is a formula, and after all, two times two makes four is no longer life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death.”

-Notes from Underground

“He spoke of many things, he seemed anxious before the moment of death to say everything he had not said in his life, and not simply for the sake of instructing them, but as though thirsting to share with all men and all creation his joy and ecstasy, and once more in his life to open up his whole heart.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky was haunted throughout his life by how it felt to face death. After standing in front of a firing squad, believing he was about to die, only to have his execution stayed at the last minute, he wrote to his brother:

“When I look back at the past and think how much time has been wasted in vain, how much time was lost in delusions, in errors, in idleness, in ignorance of how to live, how I did not value time, how often I sinned against my heart and spirit—my heart bleeds. Life is a gift, life is happiness, each minute might have been an age of happiness… not to be downhearted nor to fall in whatever misfortunes may befall me—this is life; this is the task of life.”

His letter overflowed with love and an unwavering conviction in the goodness of life. He was grateful not only to have his life, but to have been startled into a deeper appreciation for it.

To live is not just to enjoy the sensations of being alive, but to be able to love, grow, and change. As his characters affirmed, confronting mortality allows a person to spent less time resisting life and more time accepting it. For those who live a full and spiritually wise life, the final moments before death can be profound and expansive, a final outpouring of life’s goodness, a celebration rather than a moment to lament.

Dostoevsky Quotes On Life

“Love life more than the meaning of it.”

-The Brothers Karamazov

“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”

-White Nights

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

-Crime and Punishment

“We have all lost touch with life, we all limp, each to a greater or lesser degree.”

-Notes from Underground

“It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.”

-The Idiot

“I do not wish you much happiness—it would bore you; I do not wish you trouble either; but, following the people’s philosophy, I will simply repeat: ‘Live more,’ and try somehow not to be too bored; this useless wish I am adding on my own.”

-The Possessed

“For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance. “

-The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky’s conception of life is consistent with existentialism, the philosophical school with which he was later associated. Other likeminded thinkers who have explored similar themes include Viktor Frankl and more recently Jordan Peterson. To an existentialist, it is important to question life’s meaning, but inauthentic to accept a formulaic answer. The question must be lived; the meaning of life can only be found in a living, breathing experience. For someone like Dostoevsky, who was brought to the brink of death and spared, no simple belief could answer to the vast consciousness that experience opened up in him. From the point of his return from exile onward, he never stopped depicting characters who recognized the same thing he did: that life is like a river that bursts the banks of anything that can be thought or said about it. The way to live a meaningful life is to live it as fully as possible, which for Dostoevsky meant embracing the world in an all-encompassing love.

If you’d like to learn more, here are 50 more deep thoughts and saying by Dostoevsky.

39 Jordan Peterson Quotes on Life, Love, Good, and Evil

Jordan Peterson Quotes

There’s something that our culture has largely failed to digest.

It’s a fact that has enormous potential for both your well being as an individual and our good as a society as a whole.

And it’s not that we haven’t noticed it, but it’s certainly something we have yet to truly understand.

That is, the real potential for YouTube to transform the next generation.

See, while two-dimension cultural narratives would say that we, as young people, are simply a bunch of video game playing, funny cat videos watching, silly meme-sharing entertainment-addicts (which we partially are), a look at the facts would differ.

If we follow the rise of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a psychology lecturer out of the University of Toronto, we may see a different story.

Dr. Peterson’s views have been heralded by some as controversial, but I’m not interested in that aspect of his fame. I was drawn to the fact that he went from being a relative unknown lecturer with a few thousand followers to a popular public figure with over a million YouTube followers. And this is all in less than two years.

I attended one of Dr. Peterson’s talks a few months ago, when he was on a book took in Australia, and I was fascinated by two things.

Firstly, this is a man who is giving complex lectures about Carl Jung, the Soviet Union and the nature of truth – and millions are watching. This is high-level academia, and it’s now both accessible and sought after by enough people to fill a small country. It turns out the masses aren’t so simple-minded after all.

Secondly, the audience at the talk was almost overwhelmingly young men, looking for meaning in their lives. Peterson frequently lectures about depression (his family has a long history), and I’m sure many of those in the audience had experiences with mental illness. They were more engaged than I’ve seen in any university lecture, and it seemed his ideas were giving their lives meaning and direction.

There are a lot of things I agree with Dr. Peterson on, and his talks particular around mythology inspired me to read a dozen or so books related to Jungian psychology. One thing I don’t agree with is his (apparent) perspective on meditation, though I think that his stance is probably from a lack of knowledge and experience rather than any ulterior motive.

His words have a certain depth that reveal a deep look into human nature, not in a way dissimilar to that of Viktor Frankl. His perspective has obviously been coloured by his experiences of depression, and it sometimes makes for terrifying reading.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Good and Evil

“I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”

“You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.”

“No tree can grow to Heaven,” adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.”

Having studied Soviet Russia and the evils of communism for many years, Peterson has developed an attitude that some would call hyper-realist. There is however always a spark of optimism, as he emphasise personal autonomy and responsibility, working first on yourself, before trying to save the world.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Truth

“If you don’t say what you think then you kill your unborn self.”

“We have to rediscover the eternal values and then live them out.”

“Without Christianity, and its emphasis on truth at all costs, science would never have come about.”

“That’s another hallmark of truth, is that it snaps things together. People write to me all the time and say it’s as if things were coming together in my mind. It’s like the Platonic idea that all learning was remembering. You have a nature, and when you feel that nature articulated, it’s like the act of snapping the puzzle pieces together.”

“If you don’t stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backwards.”

“We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world. We must each tell the truth and repair what is in disrepair and break down and recreate what is old and outdated.”

“What path are you on?..Some of you is dark and some of you is light..get rid of the darkness and then you’re on the path of light.. What will happen to you when you’re on the path of light? The best that can happen to you.it might not not be easy…easy and best aren’t the same thing.”

“The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off because they’re 95% deadwood.”

“So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.”

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Understanding

“What is your friend: the things you know, or the things you don’t know. First of all, there’s a lot more things you don’t know. And second, the things you don’t know is the birthplace of all your new knowledge! So if you make the things you don’t know your friend, rather than the things you know, well then you’re always on a quest in a sense. You’re always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with you will tell you something you couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated.”

“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”

“When you start to realise how much you of what you’ve constructed of yourself is based on deception and lies, that is a horrifying realisation.”

“We don’t understand the world. I do think the world is more like a musical masterpiece than it is like anything else. And things are oddly connected.”

“If you have a comprehensive explanation for everything then it decreases uncertainty and anxiety and reduces your cognitive load. And if you can use that simplifying algorithm to put yourself on the side of moral virtue then you’re constantly a good person with a minimum of effort.”

Peterson has often said that he is high in trait empathy and openness. This is partially why I am attracted to his ideas, as well as those of Jung, as we share a similar temperament. Looking at what you don’t know is therefore always an opportunity for growth, change, and increased connectedness.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Life

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.”

“Specify your damn goals because how are you going to hit something if you don’t know what it is?”

“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.”

“You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse).”

“If your life isn’t everything it could be..[stop] wasting all of the opportunities that are in front of you.”

“Life without law remains chaotic, effectively intolerable. Life that is pure law becomes sterile, equally unbearable. The domination of chaos or sterility equally breeds murderous resentment and hatred.”

Peterson’s ideas may be complex, but his advice for life is surprisingly simple; start small and start with yourself, take on as much responsibility you can bear, and aim straight at a goal before being willing to discard it for the next one.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Suffering

“There are many systems of interaction between brain, body and social world that can get caught in positive feedback loops. Depressed people, for example, can start feeling useless and burdensome, as well as grief-stricken and pained. This makes them withdraw from contact with friends and family. Then the withdrawal makes them more lonesome and isolated, and more likely to feel useless and burdensome. Then they withdraw more. In this manner, depression spirals and amplifies.”

“Some people degenerate into the hell of resentment and the hatred of Being, but most refuse to do so, despite their suffering and disappointments and losses and inadequacies and ugliness, and again that is a miracle for those with the eyes to see it.”

“Life is suffering, and suffering can make you resentful, murderous, and then genocidal, if you take it far enough. So you need an antidote to suffering. And maybe you think that you can build walls of luxury around yourself, and that that will protect you from the suffering. Good luck with that.”

“Any perceptible alteration in heart-rate can trigger thoughts both of heart attack and an all-too-public and embarrassing display of post-heart attack distress and suffering (death and social humiliation constituting the two most basic fears).

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Love

“We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued.”

“I learned two very important lessons from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss depth psychologist, about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “loving your neighbour as yourself.” The first lesson was that neither of these statements has anything to do with being nice. The second was that both are equations, rather than injunctions. If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that? It is much better for any relationship when both partners are strong.”

“Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.”

It’s normal that we would equate love with respect, and therefore self-love is a natural byproduct of self-respect. To earn self-respect, we must take on responsibility. I would add that love is also related to attention, and therefore to place attention on bettering yourself is an act of self-love.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Responsibility

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.”

“It’s in responsibility that most people find the meaning that sustains them through life. It’s not in happiness. It’s not in impulsive pleasure.”

“Consciousness is a mystery that faces the mystery of potential and transforms it into actuality. We do that with every choice we make. Our choices determine the destiny of the world. By making a choice, you alter the structure of reality.”

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”

“If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.”

“You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.”

“One of the things that the Hindus do in relationship to Kali, is offer sacrifices. So you can say, well why would you offer sacrifices to something you’re afraid of. And it’s because that is what you do, that’s always what you do. You offer up sacrifices to the unknown in the hope that good things will happen to you.

“One example is that you’re worried about your future. Maybe you’re worried about your job, or who you’re going to marry, or your family, there’s a whole category of things to be worried about, so you’re worried about your future. SO what’re you doing in university? And the answer is you’re sacrificing your free time in the present, to the cosmos so to speak, in the hope that if you offer up that sacrifice properly, the future will smile upon you.”

I hope you liked this post. To learn more, check out this list of books Jordan Peterson has recommended on his blog and in his interviews.

62 Self-Discovery Quotes To Help You Find Yourself

We are lost.

Actually, it worse than that.

We are lost inside our own homes.

What do I mean by that?

Well, our home, of course, is the planet earth. Our been lost is the fact that we do not seem to know who we are, nor do we feel at home.

How do I know we are lost? Well take one look at our culture and it becomes self-evident. One example is our obsession with trying to find ourselves.

It’s a strange journey, that of self-discovery. After all, a dog doesn’t ask “how can I find myself?” A lizard doesn’t wonder “why is my purpose on this earth?” A tree doesn’t wonder if the job they’re in is right for them.

Knowing yourself doesn’t mean that you have a perfectly curated 30-second elevator pitch when someone asks you what you do. Nor is it writing the perfectly balanced Instagram bio.  It means there is little conflict between your actions, cognitions and instincts. Knowing yourself is not simply a matter of what you say, it’s a matter of how you move through the world.

However, we are nevertheless modern human beings.

We look at the world through a cognitive filter. So the process of finding ourselves usually starts with a lot of thinking and reflection. Fortunately, if we’re lucky, it usually ends with a lot less of it. When you know who you are, why would you need to spend any time thinking about it?

Whatever the case, this is where many of us are at.

What I’ve composed here are a series of quotes about finding yourself from a wide variety of writers, philosophers, scientists and spiritual teachers.

So without further ado, here are 61 self-discovery quotes to help you find yourself!

Quotes about Finding Yourself!

Finding yourself after a break-up

When people spend months, years and even decades in close proximity, they can become so attached that they develop an identity as a couple as well as individuals. In some cases, the identity as one half of the couple can become so strong, that in the case of a break-up, they feel entirely lost. Everyone has probably been told at some point or another that they’re not ready for a relationship unless they’re already comfortable with themselves. This is good advice because when you’re not grounded in your values and priorities, it’s easy to lose yourself in someone else.

A break up is a good time to reassess these values and priorities, to rethink who you are and what you want to be doing with your life going forward. It’s often hard to see what is often an emotionally difficult experience as an opportunity, however, with the right attitude it can be just that. Though it may require patience, openness and time, many people emerge from breakups and later go on to say that they were the defining moments of their lives, moulding them into the people they are.

“I wasn’t searching for something or someone….I was searching for me.” – Carrie Bradshaw

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” – Colleen Hoover

“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.” – Guy Finley

“There was a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay. Between being found and finding yourself.” – Martina Boone

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself as its most brilliant.” – Paulo Coelho

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

“One of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life? Right after a break-up.” – Mandy Hale

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

“Don’t worry about finding your soul mate. Find yourself.” – Jason Evert

Find yourself in nature

For thousands of years, people have wondered what it is that is so spectacular about nature. Why does it seem that we so often find something out about ourselves when we spend some time in a forest or at a beach or in the hills? The answer is surprisingly simple, it’s because you ARE nature. Our idea that human beings are separate from nature is just a thought that we have – and even that thought is part of nature too! When we pass the time in nature we are returning to an earlier part of ourselves, it’s like seeing a long lost relative.

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beach of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell

“By discovering nature, you discover yourself.” – Maxime Lagace

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb

“Going to the mountain is going home.” – John Muir

“Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.” – Lao Tzu

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” – Henry David Thoreau

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

Finding yourself through meaning and happiness

Happiness and meaning are two of the most often desired aspects of the human condition. The road to finding these existential gifts is not usually very straightforward. This is particularly the case if we don’t know who we are, what we consider important, and what we want out of life. The good news is, everyone has derived some sense of happiness or meaning from their life, however small or fleeting it may have been. These moments of fulfilment are clues that help us paint an accurate picture of ourselves. If, for example, we accumulate material wealth and then realise that we feel unfulfilled, then it’s probably a sign that we are not driven by money or status. On the other hand, maybe we do some volunteer work and we realise that for the next few days there is a vitality that we haven’t seen in awhile, that’s also a sign. It could be a sign that you have a deeper calling to serve others.

“Money isn’t the solution to your problems. It only lets you carry your unhappiness around in style.” – Shannon L. Alder

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” – Rick Riordan

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

“If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.” – James A. Michener

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

“Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” – Kristin Hannah

Finding yourself through self-discovery

We tend to have a few misconceptions in our culture when it comes to the idea of self-discovery. Firstly, it’s often considered a process that is achieved by accumulation. We accumulate experiences by travelling around the world, ideas by studying a ton of books and wealth by working for what we believe we want. Self-discovery, however, is actually a process of peeling back the layers of our experience. It is something that is deconstructive. This is a journey that happens moment-to-moment, often over the period of a lifetime, by looking directly at how we act and react to the world. Why do I want to go to Peru? Why do I want to study existentialism? Why do I want to build my own business? Diving deep into our motives with these types of questions prevents us from going down roads we need not travel. Self-discovery, however, will only be true if it is done in the spirit of complete honesty, until then, our actions and answers will be tainted by the conditioning of the world around us.

“If you truly want to find yourself don’t seek new answers, seek new questions.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind

“The greatest discovery in life is self-discovery. Until you find yourself you will always be someone else. Become yourself.” – Myles Munroe

“The journey toward self-discovery is life’s greatest adventure.” – Arianna Huffington

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

“We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot

“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

“Do not wait for the green light. You are the green light.” – Dr Jacinta Mpalyenkana

“If you’re not comfortable enough with yourself or with your own truth when entering a relationship, then you’re not ready for that relationship.” – Steve Maraboli

Finding yourself by accepting yourself

It may seem like a paradox, finding yourself requires that you do some work, and accepting yourself will stop you from doing that work, right? Well, yes and no. What accepting yourself does is that it cuts away the fat from your personality. When you fully accept who you are, you act as you should act, without unnecessary influence from your own insecurities or those of the external world. Accept yourself and you will act from a place of honesty, and from that place, you will see who you really are and what you truly value. This self-acceptance doesn’t always come naturally and is actually difficult for some people. However, this effort requires courage and may be considered the necessary effort on what is actually a more direct path to finding yourself anyway.

“Accepting yourself fully is not an excuse to concede to your vices. It’s a concession to the unavoidable reality of what is, right now. It’s a reason to let go of the weight of unnecessary guilt and use the newly found energy to co-create a better you.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind

“You are already that which you seek.” – Ramana Maharshi

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

“I found power in accepting the truth of who I am. It may not be a truth that others can accept, but I cannot live any other way.” – Alison Goodman

“The longest journey is the journey inward.” – Dag Hannarskyjojd

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings

“You have no need to travel anywhere. Journey within yourself, enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendour of your own light.” – Rumi

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realising who you are at the deepest level.” – Eckhart Tolle

Finding yourself by improving yourself

Though self-acceptance is important, there is also room in our experience for growth and development. When we challenge ourselves we may actually find that our strengths and weaknesses aren’t what we once thought they were. The human body was designed by evolution to be pushed, occasionally to its limits. There is a deep fulfilment and an intimidate self-knowledge that comes with difficult experiences, both self-imposed and presented to us by the universe.

“The key to happiness is really progress and growth and constantly working on yourself and developing something.” – Lewis Howes

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T.D. Jakes

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something that one creates.” – Thomas Szasz

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley

“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” – Jean de La Fontaine

“You’ve got to find yourself first. Everything else will follow.” – Charles de Lint

“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Finding your inner truth

Everyone has their own unique experience of some type of inner truth. But at its core, all this wisdom comes from the same place. Sometimes this voice is so quiet we can barely hear it, at other times it is so clear that we can do nothing but to follow it. When we are able to be led by our inner truth, we may feel more authentic and even joyful. This isn’t always the case, following your truth may also it may also be painful. It is, however, as the late great psychoanalyst Carl Jung said “the privilege of a lifetime.”

“We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” – Jane Austen

“Bliss and joy come in moments of living our highest truth – moments when what we do is consistent with our archetypal depths. It’s when we are most authentic and trusting, and feel that whatever we are doing, which can be quite ordinary, is nonetheless sacred.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen

“Your soul is the place within you that is timeless, ageless, and eternal: it is the ultimate core and essence of who you truly are.” – Mateo Sol

“We anxiously try to rebuild ourselves, instead of deconstructing ourselves and allowing life to build us back up.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind

“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” – Rumi

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung

What does it mean to find yourself to you? What kinds of experiences have allowed you to find yourself? Let us know in the comments!

42 Kierkegaard Quotes on Love, Life, Prayer, and More

Soren Kierkegaard was a nineteenth-century Danish philosopher who lived up to his own highest ideal: to be an individual. To him, that meant being a person whose thought was his own, not that of his age or of the crowd.

Kierkegaard’s quotes draw largely from his passion for Christianity, yet his ideas became the foundation of existentialism, a school of philosophy primarily associated with secular beliefs. This owes to the unique way he wrestled with Christian concepts like love, goodness, and moral error. The conclusions he drew are valuable not only to Christians, but to anyone trying to live a meaningful life.

Growing up in the shadow of his pious father, Kierkegaard suffered from passionate, unresolved love for Regine Olsen, the fiancée he left because he did not believe he could be a good husband to her. His perpetual melancholy drove him to live a life of intense self-inquiry. He studied the Bible and other Christian texts with great seriousness in his quest for truth.

Kierkegaard also constantly examined the society around him. He was one of the first thinkers to examine subjects we associate with the modern age, like anxiety and the chilling effect of social norms on the development of the individual. His writing is dense and circular, showing how he always questioned and re-examined his own conclusions. All the same, he established strong convictions that set him apart.

Kierkegaard’s View of the Spiritual Life

To Kierkegaard, a relationship with God was possible only for the person who turned away from the world and met God as a unique individual. Silence and solitude were prerequisites for spiritual understanding.

He thought public opinion was noise and that public religious doctrine ran contrary to the path of spiritual development outlined in the Bible and other Christian texts. Blind adherence to social convention was a sure way to spiritual death for Kierkegaard. Yet he also rejected a life of selfish hedonism and believed obedience to God was essential. He recognised the despair that ultimately arises from chasing pleasurable experiences.

Kierkegaard contrasted the life of the aesthetic person, or hedonist, with the life of the ethical person in his magnum opus Either/Or. The life of the aesthete is instinctive and self-focused while the life of the ethical person is contemplative, driven by the concern for others and the measured pursuit of goodness.

Kierkegaard concluded that neither mode of living was complete and proposed a third mode that synthesized and transcended the other two: the religious. He spent most of his life writing guidance for people living the religious life, or the life of the knight of faith, in which loving action is grounded in a relationship with the transcendent.

Kierkegaard and Existentialism

The two main lines of Kierkegaard’s thinking that contributed to the development of existentialist philosophy in the century following his death were the importance of the individual and the primacy of action. To the existentialist, the authentic person does not rely on a given definition of who they are or what life is supposed to be. The meaning of life is created through the experience of living and is impossible to condense into a formula or doctrine. To the existentialist, the meaning of life is made, not given.

This view went hand in hand with many existentialists’ rejection of the concept of God as the ultimate giver of preordained meaning. However, to Kierkegaard, an authentic life requires a deep relationship with God. Yet like the existentialists, he believed that the meaning arising from this relationship could only be found through the living of it. The essence of his faith was not in accepting doctrine, but following Christ’s example, especially his embodiment of selfless love, or agape.

To Kierkegaard, the only real truth is that which is lived. This is why he uses the image of the “knight of faith,” the person who goes forth and impacts the world through the embodiment of devotion and goodness. Doing good deeds is only the beginning: the truth of the religious life is only realized if they are done in the context of deep self-knowledge and faith, in living relationship with the Absolute. In Either/Or, he wrote:

“When around one everything has become silent, solemn as a clear, starlit night, when the soul comes to be alone in the whole world, then before one there appears, not an extraordinary human being, but the eternal power itself, then the heavens open, and the I chooses itself, or, more correctly, receives itself. Then the personality receives the accolade of knighthood that ennobles it for an eternity.”

Kierkegaard On Love

“Unhappiness is not to love without being loved, but to be loved when one does not love.”

– Concluding Unscientific Postscript

“Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all.”

-Works of Love

“To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.”

-Works of Love

“When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful; it consists solely of opportunities for love.”

-Works of Love

“To love another in spite of his weaknesses and errors and imperfections is not perfect love. No, to love is to find him lovable in spite of and together with his weakness and errors and imperfections.”

-Works of Love

“Every person, through his life, his conduct, through his behavior in common things, through his relationship with his fellows, through his language, his expression, should and can build up, and every person would do this if love were actually in him.”

-Works of Love

“The hidden life of love, in its most inward depths, is unfathomable, and still has a boundless relationship with the whole of existence. As the quiet lake is fed by the flow of hidden springs, which no eye sees, so a human being’s love is grounded in God’s love. If there were no spring at the bottom, if God were not love, there would be neither a lake nor human love.”

-Works of Love

“Love abides! Whatever the world takes away from you… whatever happens to you in life… however you may have to suffer because of your striving… if nevertheless in any of your actions, in any of your words, you have truly loved, then take comfort, for love abides. What you knew with love will be a consolation more blessed than any sort of achievement any human being could have accomplished… Neither the present nor the future, neither angels nor devils, not even the fearful thoughts of your unquiet mind, will be able to take it from you, not in the stormiest, most difficult moment of your life, any more than in the last moment of your life—because love abides.”

-Works of Love

In his voluminous output, Kierkegaard’s most favoured subject was love. For all of his stark musings on anxiety and despair, and for all of his profound abstraction on the nature of ethical action, he always returned to one simple conclusion: that the good and meaningful life is rooted in love.

As with Dostoevsky, the love Kierkegaard devoted himself to understanding and living is not the same as sentimental or romantic love. Instead, it is a course of action based on faith and selfless service. It is an embodied virtue that transforms the self as it is lived. Love erodes selfish impulses and replaces them with something far beyond the pleasure such impulses can yield: a peace that is beyond rational understanding.

One of Kierkegaard’s primary principles is that “love builds up.” He dissects this Biblical phrase from every angle in the chapter of the same title in Works of Love, but throughout his works, he considers the way the humble life of love improves the soul. Love “builds up” because it is rooted in the universal actions of everyday life, rather than in unique or special virtues. It also “builds up” in that it draws from what is already at hand, being that love is the substance of life itself.

Kierkegaard On Life

“Philosophy is perfectly right in saying that life can only be understood backwards. But then it forgets the other side—that it must be lived forwards.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume I

“It is wretched to have an abundance of intentions and a poverty of action, to be rich in truths and poor in virtues.”

-Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

“It is one thing to introduce a new doctrine into the world, it is something else to live it.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume II

“If a person does not become what he understands, then he does not understand it either.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume IV

“If I could only have the experience of meeting a passionate thinker, that is, someone who honestly and honorably expressed in his life what he has understood!”

-Concluding Unscientific Postscript

“All existence-issues are passionate. To think about them so as to leave out passion is not to think about them at all. It is to forget the point that one indeed is oneself an existing person. To exist is an art. The subjective thinker is aesthetic enough for his life to have aesthetic content, ethical enough to regulate it, passionate enough in thinking to master it.”

-Practice In Christianity

“The subjective thinker is continually striving, is always in the process of becoming. How far the subjective thinker might be along that road, whether a long way or a short, makes no essential difference (it is, after all, just a finitely relative comparison); as long as he is existing, he is in the process of becoming.”

-Concluding Unscientific Postscript

“The essential sermon is one’s own existence. A person preaches with this every hour of the day and with power quite different from that of the most eloquent speaker in his most eloquent moment. To let your mouth run with eloquent babbling when such talk is the opposite of your life is in the deepest sense nonsense. You become liable to eternal judgment.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume I

“Have you lived in such a way that truth was in you, that there was something higher for which you actually suffered? Or has your life revolved around profitable returns?”

– Journals and Papers, Volume I

“To venture the truth is what gives human life and the human situation pith and meaning. To venture is the fountainhead of inspiration. Calculating is the sworn enemy of enthusiasm, the mirage whereby the earthly person drags out time and keeps the eternal away, whereby one cheats God, himself, and his generation.”

-Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

“There are many people who arrive at conclusions in life much the way schoolboys do; they cheat their teachers by copying the answer book without having worked the problem themselves.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume IV

These quotes all show why Kierkegaard is considered to be one of the founders of existentialist thought. While many philosophers content themselves with sparkling oratory, the rhetorical force of a statement was not enough to engage or impress this spiritual thinker. For Kierkegaard, a philosophy was only proven valuable when the person who spoke it also lived it. To understand was to constantly stand under the truth, to act from the higher principles that informed your thought and speech.

To live is to dare. To Kierkegaard, truth wasn’t something to believe, but something to venture. To take a leap of faith is to act first and learn from action, though again, this is not the same as the hedonist’s impulsive way of living, or a thoughtless life free of self-awareness or introspection. Rather, it is additive: actions aren’t based on calculation, but are informed by the life of spiritual inquiry that preceded them. When actions are “spirited,” they are taken out of a radical conviction of truth.

Kierkegaard On Silence

“Silence is the essence of inwardness and of the inner life.”

-The Present Age

“Only he who can keep silence can really act, for silence is of the heart.”

-Meditations from Kierkegaard

“A person rarely amounts to anything, either good or evil, who has never lived in solitude.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume II

“Who is the authentic individual? One whose life, in the fruit of long silence, gains character and whose actions acquire the power to excite and arouse.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume III

“All genuine instruction ends in a kind of silence; for when I live it, it is no longer necessary for my speaking to be audible.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume I

“It is a frightful satire and an epigram of the modern age that the only use it knows for solitude is to make it a punishment, a jail sentence.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume IV

“God loves silence. Silence in relation to God is strengthening. Absolute silence is like a lever, or like the point outside the world which Archimedes talks about.”

-The Journals of Soren Kierkegaard

“God can imprint himself in a person only when he himself has become nothing. When the ocean is exerting all its power, that is precisely the time when it cannot reflect the image of heaven, and even the slightest motion blurs the image. But when it becomes still and deep, then the image of heaven sinks into nothingness.”

-Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

Kierkegaard valued silence so much that one of his many pen names was Johannes de Silentio, or “John of the Silence.” For him, silence was the foremost spiritual quality and a signifier of depth. He likened it to still waters that not only reflect light, but also hide nothing. Just as roiling waters leave only the surface visible, Kierkegaard noted the way noisy human discourse made it impossible to observe the depths of truth. Superficial noise generated merely to entertain was anathema to him.

Kierkegaard deeply valued discourse and action. He did not see silence as being opposed to them in any way. Instead, it was the foundation that made them possible. If action is not to be informed by public opinion or received dogma, it must come from something deeper. That deeper source is communion with God, which can only happen in silence. Just as only a calm ocean reflects the moon, only a silent mind and heart can reveal the profundity of the Absolute.

Kierkegaard On Prayer

“To pray is a task for the whole soul.”

-Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

“The function of prayer is not to change God, but rather to change the one who prays.”

-Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing

“Purity of heart is to will one thing. The one who wills anything other than the Good will become divided.”

-Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing

“The one who desires the Good for the sake of some reward fails to will one thing. He is double-minded… The Good is one thing; the reward is something else. To will the Good for the sake of reward is not to will one thing but two. Neither can one who wills the Good do so out of fear of punishment. In essence, this is the same thing as willing the Good for the sake of a reward. The one who wills in truth one thing fears only doing wrong, not the punishment.”

-Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing

“He who prays knows how to make distinctions. Little by little he gives up what is less important, since he does not really dare to come before God with it, demanding this and that. On the contrary, he wants to give all the more emphasis to the request for his one and only wish. Then before God he concentrates his soul on the one wish, and this already has something ennobling about it, is preparation for giving up everything, because only he can give up everything who has but one single wish.”

-Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

“The earthly minded person thinks and imagines that when he prays, the important thing, the thing he must concentrate upon, is that God should hear what he is praying for. And yet in the true, eternal sense it is just the reverse: the true relation in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for, but when the person praying continues to pray until he is the one who hears, who hears what God is asking for.”

-The Journals of Soren Kierkegaard

“As my prayer became more attentive and inward I had less and less to say. I finally became completely silent. I started to listen—which is even further removed from speaking than being silent. I first thought that praying entailed speaking. I then learnt that praying is hearing, not merely being silent. This is how it is. To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and remaining silent, and waiting until God is heard.”

-Lily of the Field, Bird of the Air

As with everything else he considered, Kierkegaard was rigorous in the standards he applied to the act of prayer. He observed the way most of the people around him who identified as Christian used prayer to ask for things they wanted or petition for things to go their way. To him, this was not only shallow, but wrong-minded. Like love, true prayer was something that could build up the soul. Its purpose was not to persuade a God that Kierkegaard saw as beyond persuasion, but to transform the one who prayed.

The kind of prayer Kierkegaard emphasised is a contemplative form of prayer that draws the soul into silence. It is the way to make the mind and heart the still pool that reflects the will of God. It is also a way to purify intention. Kierkegaard noted that most prayer reflected what he called “double-mindedness.” The petitioner did not truly want what was good or what reflected the will of God, but what helped them get pleasure or avoid pain. He observed that by relinquishing these ego-driven demands, the one who prayed could find greater peace than if those requests had been fulfilled.

Kierkegaard On Regret

“The anguished conscience alone understands Christ.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume III

“The opposite of freedom is not necessity, but guilt.”

-The Concept of Anxiety

“It is precisely our consciousness of sin that can lead us nearer to God.”

-Meditations from Kierkegaard

“To become involved with God in any other way other than being wounded is impossible.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume II

“The all-knowing One does not get to know something about the one who needs confession, rather the one who confesses gets to know something about himself.”

-Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing

“The goal is not to merge into God through some fading away or in some divine ocean. No, in an intensified consciousness ‘a person must render account for every careless word he has uttered.’ Even though grace blots out sin, the union with God still takes place in the personality clarified and intensified to the uttermost.”

– Journals and Papers, Volume IV

“Memory is pre-eminently the real element of the unhappy, as is natural seeing the past has the remarkable characteristic that it is gone.”


“If you marry, you will regret it; if you do not marry, you will also regret it; if you marry or if you do not marry, you will regret both; whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret both. Laugh at the world’s follies, you will regret it; weep over them, you will also regret it; if you laugh at the world’s follies or if you weep over them, you will regret both; whether you laugh at the world’s follies or you weep over them, you will regret both. Believe a girl, you will regret it; if you do not believe her, you will also regret it; if you believe a girl or you do not believe her, you will regret both; whether you believe a girl or you do not believe her, you will regret both. If you hang yourself, you will regret it; if you do not hang yourself, you will regret it; if you hang yourself or you do not hang yourself, you will regret both; whether you hang yourself or you do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the sum of all practical wisdom.”


Kierkegaard wrote extensively on the experience of despair. He defined it as the loss of the relationship with God, which leads to the loss of self. Kierkegaard’s concept of God was of the Absolute, of the very ground of being; he saw the loss of the relationship with God as a profound disconnection from life.

Regret can lead to despair, but it doesn’t have to. Regret is a crossroads. Guilt burdens and restricts the soul, but it can be relinquished by making a choice. That choice can be to relinquish hope or to do what it takes to reconnect to God and to life. The process of atonement can intensify the light of the soul, strengthening virtue and self-knowledge.

Kierkegaard’s final quote above playfully reflects on the typical human relationship with life. No matter what you do, you’ll probably regret it, or at least wonder how things could have been if you’d done otherwise. Like most of Kierkegaard’s quotes, it has layers of meaning. He wrote many of his works not just under different pen names, but under different personas. This quote is written in the voice of an aesthete flirting with the despair that typically comes with a hedonistic life and points to the cost of living that way.

All the same, it’s true: regret is a natural outcome of any life. Whether the person who regrets gives in to despair or embraces life depends on whether they can take a leap of faith and act from a deeper truth.

50 Life-Changing Dalai Lama Quotes on Life, Love, Health, Happiness, Kindness and More!

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, lived through remarkable times that thrust him onto the world stage. Political events in his home country and a growing global demand for its wisdom expanded his role as the leader of a nation and a religious community into that of an international spiritual authority and diplomat. The winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on nonviolent resolution with China, he became even perhaps more widely known for his lectures on spiritual topics ranging from traditional Buddhist teachings to the intersection of religion and science.

Born in 1935, the Dalai Lama was recognised as such in 1937 by monks who identified him as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, who had died in 1933. Born into a humble farming family in which he was one of sixteen children, he was swept into a very different world when he began his rigorous monastic education. At the Potala Palace, he studied monastic discipline and meditation, Buddhist metaphysical and ethical teachings, and other subjects including fine arts, logic, and medicine. His childhood and education are explored in the 1997 Martin Scorsese movie Kundun, which also depicts the Chinese invasion of Tibet that sent him and many other Tibetan Buddhist monks into exile in 1959.

The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, which teaches Vajrayana Buddhism, a branch of the Mahayana Buddhist school. In Mahayana Buddhism, the goal of individual enlightenment is set aside for the goal of liberating all other beings from the cycle of suffering or samsara. The essence of Vajrayana, or Tantric Buddhism, is the concept of rapid spiritual transformation through direct engagement with the substance of everyday life. In Vajrayana, negative states of mind such as hatred and desire are embraced and worked with directly as the path to enlightenment. One of the symbols of Vajrayana is the peacock, whose beautiful plumage was said to result from the transmutation of poison.

Traditional Tibetan teachings go into great depth regarding the nature of mind. The unique path of the 14th Dalai Lama has led him to publish dozens of books ranging from dense texts on complex tantric teachings like the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) to books for a popular audience on happiness and compassion.

So without further ado, here are 50 life-changing Dalai Lama quotes on life, love, health, happiness, kindness and more!

On Happiness

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.”

– The Art of Happiness

“Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.”

– The Art of Happiness

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

– The Art of Happiness

“The basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion, and love. If we have these, even if we’re surrounded by hostility, we’ll feel little disturbance.”

– The Basic Sources of Happiness

“There’s another Tibetan saying that it is actually the painful experiences that shine the light on the nature of happiness. They do this by bringing joyful experiences into sharp relief.”

– The Book of Joy

“If something is lacking in your perspective—if something is missing in your heart—then despite the most luxurious surroundings, you cannot be happy. However, if you have peace of mind, you can find happiness even under the most difficult circumstances.”

– How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“I say, if you are selfish, you should be wisely selfish. Ordinary selfishness focuses only on your own needs, but if you are wisely selfish, you will treat others just as well as you treat those close to you. Ultimately, this strategy will produce more satisfaction, more happiness. So, even from a selfish viewpoint, you get better results by respecting others, serving others, and reducing self-centeredness.”

-How to Practice

“Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.”

-The Art of Happiness

The Dalai Lama’s teachings focus on the central role of happiness in personal and global transformation. At first, this may seem counterintuitive, out of place for a lofty spiritual thinker who has spent his life studying complex teachings on the nature of mind. Yet, to the Dalai Lama, happiness is the foundation upon which all other positive change rests. Compassion and altruism much more naturally flow from people who are happy than from people who are unhappy. Similarly, cultivating compassion and love is the most direct and powerful way to achieve and maintain happiness. These states of mind inspire actions that benefit others, and these states, as well as the fruits of the actions driven by them, inspire feelings of well-being.

As the Dalai Lama teaches, compassion and love can be generated through various forms of mental training and meditative discipline. These traits are a much more stable foundation for happiness than fleeting external circumstances. In the Buddhist perspective, this positive cycle in which benefits to self and benefits to others feed upon one another reflects the wisdom that the mind, rather than the objects it perceives, is the primary basis of experience.

On Love

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

– Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection

“Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.”

– Official Website

“Though it is possible for love and compassion to be influenced by afflictive emotions, true love and compassion are unbiased and devoid of exaggeration, because they are founded on valid cognition of your relationship to others.”

– How to See Yourself As You Really Are

“Real compassion is based on reason. Ordinary compassion or love is limited by desire or attachment.”

– How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“One kind of compassion is tinged with attachment—the feeling of controlling someone, or loving someone so that person will love you back. This ordinary type of love or compassion is quite partial and biased. And a relationship based on that alone is unstable… If there is a slight change in the situation, a disagreement perhaps, or if your friend does something to make you angry, then all of a sudden your mental projection changes; the concept of ‘my friend’ is no longer there. Then you’ll find the emotional attachment evaporating, and instead of that feeling of love and concern, you may have a feeling of hatred. So that kind of love, based on attachment, can be closely linked with hatred.”

– The Art of Happiness

“We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that while anger and aggression are surely present, love and compassion predominate in the world. This is why what we call ‘news’ is composed of mostly unpleasant or tragic events; compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and therefore are largely ignored.”

– The Compassionate Life

The Dalai Lama sees love as the driving force of the human realm: though hate and violence exist, they are not our true nature. Like all Buddhists, the Dalai Lama believes human nature and human life are fundamentally good, and that the nature of the mind is fundamentally peaceful. As he notes, while we tend to focus on and react to stories that reinforce our self-image as a violent and destructive species, the greater human story is one of cooperation and of helping one another.

It is our love for one another that is the source of our greatest inspiration to learn, create, succeed, and overcome the challenges we face. It is not that the “three poisons” of greed, hatred, and ignorance are not at play in the world, but that they are not the fundamental nature of this world. Rather, they arise from a cycle of misperception that can be broken and disappear completely in the light of the awakened mind.

The Dalai Lama takes care to distinguish the wholesome, self-sustaining love of the disciplined mind from the confused and unstable feelings that arise from attachment. Wise love does not seek to control another person and is not dependent upon that person’s reactions or feelings. Instead, it is rooted in a desire for the other to be happy. This kind of love never transforms into hate and is a balm for the spirit in the face of loss and hardship. It is the flame that lights the way when all else has become dark, bringing us back to others and to our own inner wisdom.

On Kindness

“When you are concerned about others, your own welfare is fulfilled automatically.”

– How to Practice

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

– The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness

“A person’s general goodness is in direct correlation to the force, or quality, of the kind thoughts he or she generates.”

– Stages of Meditation

“Kindness is essential to mental peace. The central method for achieving a happier life is to train your mind in a daily practice that weakens negative attitudes and strengthens positive ones.”

– How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“My earnest request is that you practice love and kindness whether you believe in a religion or not. Through this practice you come to realize the value of compassion and kindness for your own peace of mind.”

– How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent, nonharming, and nonaggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect towards the other.”

– The Art of Happiness

“I think that in many cases people tend to expect the other person to respond to them in a positive way first, rather than taking the initiative themselves to create that possibility. This leads to problems and can act as a barrier that serves to promote a feeling of isolation from others.”

– The Art of Happiness

One of the Dalai Lama’s most well-known quotes is that his religion is kindness. In the simple act of helping others is folded an entire science of mind. Peace, love, compassion, and kindness are profoundly interrelated; a loving and peaceful mind naturally generates acts of kindness and compassion, which in turn reinforce positive states of being. As with love, the Dalai Lama teaches that true kindness is not driven by the desire to control another person or to elicit a certain response from them. Rather, it is driven by a genuine wish for another to be happy and free from suffering. This wish is grounded in wisdom and the understanding that others cannot be made happy, but can be inspired and aided in their path to happiness by acts of kindness. Such acts encompass everything from sharing material resources to speaking encouraging words.

In the Buddhist tradition, one of the kindest things a person can do is free others from fear. The most profound way to do this is to share wisdom that dispels illusion: in the Buddha’s words, to help people see that the snake they fear is actually just a rope. As the Dalai Lama teaches, just as happiness is dependent on the cultivation of positive states of mind, fear is dependent on the maintenance of negative states, which are in turn dependent on misperceptions. Helping a person with a burdensome task has the power to achieve not only a material outcome, but to shift that person’s perspective. Simple acts of kindness often have an impact far beyond the moment and circumstances in which they arise.

On Peace

“Mental peace is a basic need for all humankind.”

– How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“We may be wealthy and have abundant material facilities at our disposal, but as long as we are disturbed within our minds, we will have no peace.”

– Stages of Meditation

“If your mind is scattered, it is quite powerless. Distraction here and there opens the way for counterproductive emotions, leading to many kinds of trouble.”

-How to See Yourself As You Really Are

“The undisciplined mind is like an elephant. If left to blunder around out of control, it will wreak havoc. But the harm and suffering we encounter as a result of failing to restrain the negative impulses of mind far exceed the damage a rampaging elephant can cause.”

– Ethics for the New Millennium

“As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, no matter what external facilities or conditions you have, they will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.” 

– The Art of Happiness

“It is helpful to think of adversity not so much as a threat to our peace of mind but rather as the very means by which patience is attained. From this perspective, we see that those who would harm us are, in a sense, teachers of patience.”

– Ethics for the New Millennium

“If we think about the projected injustices done to us, the ways in which we have been unfairly treated, and we keep on thinking about them over and over, then that feeds the hatred. It makes the hatred very powerful and intense. Of course, the same can apply to when we have an attachment towards a particular person; we can feed that by thinking about how beautiful he or she is, and as we keep thinking about the projected qualities that we see in the person, the attachment becomes more and more intense. But this shows how through constant familiarity and thinking, we ourselves can make our emotions more intense and powerful.”

– The Art of Happiness

“Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We are bound to the chains of bitterness, tied together, trapped. Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberator.”

– The Book of Joy

One of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings is that inner peace comes from within; it is entirely independent of external states. While freedom from a certain level of external strife makes the attainment of peace easier, a person with excellent mental discipline can find peace even in extremely violent or chaotic circumstances. A traditional Tibetan Buddhist teaching is to see everyone as a teacher, especially those who appear to be enemies. The Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan Buddhists were forced to put these teachings to the most extreme test as they suffered the hardships of persecution, exile, and even torture. Their ability to maintain peace was dependent on their ability to have compassion for those who harmed them.

Fortunately, most of us won’t be tested under such extreme circumstances. Instead, we learn how to maintain peace in the face of everyday adversity: rude treatment by strangers, traffic, frustrations at work, and misunderstandings with loved ones. The Dalai Lama does not advise us to be passive, but that we try to resolve difficulties with a peaceful mind. The best way to learn how to maintain equanimity in the face of adversity is to work directly with the mind, especially through the practice of meditation. Learning how to return the attention to the breath when thoughts arise helps train the mind for the greater challenge of letting go of negative emotions.

On Health

“Certainly I attribute the good health I enjoy to a generally calm and peaceful mind.”

– Ethics for the New Millennium

“Our own destructive emotions pollute our outlook, making healthy living impossible. We need to cleanse our own internal perspective through the practice of wise compassion.”

– How to Be Compassionate

“Peace, tranquillity, and others’ care are essential to recovery from illness. We can also identify a basic longing for peace. Why? Because peace suggests life and growth whereas violence suggests only misery and death.”

– Ethics for the New Millennium

“My earnest request is that you practice compassion whether you believe in a religion or not. Through this practice, you will come to realize the value of compassion for your own peace of mind. The very atmosphere of your own life becomes happier, which promotes good health, perhaps even a longer life.”

– How to Be Compassionate

“Consider the relationship between peace—which as we have seen is the fruit of love—and good health. According to my understanding, our constitution is more suited to peace and tranquility than to violence and aggression. We all know that stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure and other negative symptoms. In the Tibetan medical system, mental and emotional disturbances are considered to be a cause of many constitutional diseases.”

– Ethics for the New Millennium

“In identifying one’s mental state as the prime factor in achieving happiness, of course that doesn’t deny that our basic physical needs for food, clothing, and shelter must be met. But once these basic needs are met, the message is clear: we don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate – right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.”

– The Art of Happiness

The Dalai Lama teaches that physical health is linked to a peaceful mind. This is a traditional Buddhist view, and in the last several decades has received increasing support from scientific research. In his work with the Mind and Life Institute and other scientific organisations, the Dalai Lama has been at the forefront of the dialogue between science and religion. One fundamental area of agreement between the two is the link between body and mind. Stress has been shown to not only cause immediate changes in blood pressure and immune response, but to contribute to the development of chronic conditions. Similarly, meditation and other practices that cultivate a peaceful mind, like yoga, have been linked with improved health.

This said, the Dalai Lama is careful to clarify that our striving for better health is only effective up to a point. People do not need to attain the “perfect body” or the perfect state of health to find peace. Just as people can learn how to face interpersonal adversity with a calm mind, peace is still possible when physical pain or ill health arise. By training the mind, people can learn how to let go of the thoughts and emotional states that increase discomfort and tension and identify with the ground of being, the peace that is always there underneath the pain and stress.

On Truth

“In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.”

-1989 Nobel Lecture

“The more honest you are, the more open, the less fear you will have, because there’s no anxiety about being exposed or revealed to others.”

-The Art of Happiness

“So one fundamental attitude shared by Buddhism and science is the commitment to keep searching for reality by empirical means and to be willing to discard accepted or long-held positions if our search finds that the truth is different.”

-The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

“In our usual state we are distracted, like water running everywhere, scattering the innate force of mind in multiple directions, making us incapable of clear perception of the truth.”

-How to See Yourself As You Really Are

“It is not enough to look at any given situation or problem from only one perspective. We need to look at it from this direction and that direction, from all sides.”

-Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

“Similarly, when you are able to stop your mind from chasing sensory objects and thinking about the past and future and so on, and when you can free your mind from being totally ‘blanked out’ as well, then you will begin to see underneath this turbulence of the thought processes. There is an underlying stillness, an underlying clarity of the mind.”

-The Art of Happiness

Buddhist teachings emphasise the importance of truth. To the Dalai Lama and other Buddhists, truth is not that which can be believed, but something that is beyond belief. The difference has to do with the Buddhist view of thoughts, which are understood as a phenomenon at the surface of the mind rather than its deepest expression or nature. Thoughts can be useful in navigating day-to-day life but are also a primary source of confusion and suffering. It is only when people learn how to experience the deeper states of mind beneath the movement of thoughts that they gain clarity. Understanding that thoughts cannot capture the entire truth of a situation allows a person to be less fixed in their views and to respond more freely to life circumstances.

In Buddhism, wisdom and compassion are understood as essentially linked, two aspects of the same reality. Compassion only liberates when it is wise and grounded in truth, and wisdom is only meaningful to the extent it is linked to compassion. The cultivation of each is also linked; the wiser people become, the more compassionate they become, and vice versa. It is for this reason that the Dalai Lama focuses his teachings on the cultivation of compassion: it is a direct path to truth that does not demand perfect clarity or adherence to any particular belief system. The benefits of a more compassionate life are not limited to membership in any one religion.

On Life

“All human life is some part failure and some part achievement.”

-Time Magazine Interview

“Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day.”

-How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“I believe the most important thing for humankind is its own creativity. I further believe that, in order to be able to exercise this creativity, people need to be free.”

-Freedom in Exile

“No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. This is the power we wield.”

-The Book of Joy

“Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life that we have and the moment that we are experiencing.”

-The Book of Joy

“Change, on the infinitesimal level, is accompanied in our mind by an appearance of continuity. Yet the continuity thus perceived is illusory. For nothing remains the same, and no two consecutive instants are alike.”

-My Spiritual Journey

“In the frenzy of modern life we lose sight of the real value of humanity. People become the sum total of what they produce. Human beings act like machines whose function is to make money. This is absolutely wrong. The purpose of making money is the happiness of humankind, not the other way round. Humans are not for money, money is for humans.”

-How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

“The work of a person laboring in some humble occupation is no less relevant to the well-being of society than that of, for example, a doctor, a teacher, a monk, or a nun. All human endeavor is potentially great and noble. So long as we carry out our work with good motivation, thinking, ‘My work is for others,’ it will be of benefit to the wider community.”

-Ethics for the New Millennium

“One very important factor for sustaining hope is to have an optimistic attitude. Optimism doesn’t mean that you are blind to the reality of the situation. It means that you remain motivated to seek a solution to whatever problems arise. Optimism involves looking at a situation not only in relation to problems that arise, but also seeking out some benefit—looking at it in terms of its potential positive outcome.”

-The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

The Dalai Lama’s teachings about the way to achieve and maintain inner peace are simple: be kind and cultivate love and compassion. However, he is also comfortable with life’s complexities. He acknowledges that even he makes mistakes and gets angry. He remarks upon our need to come together to address challenges like environmental degradation and social injustice, and how these require multifaceted solutions.

The importance of consistent practice on the spiritual path is also emphasised. This path is not a permanent solution to life’s problems or a form of control, but a way of moving through life’s challenges with peace and clarity. The point of meditation is not to completely rid the mind of thoughts, but to practice bringing the attention back when distractions arise. Likewise, the aim of practising compassion is not to achieve a state where anger never arises, but to learn how to return to a loving state of mind after it does.

Seeing life in this way brings its own peace, as it reminds us that the happiness we seek is not on the other side of a permanent attainment, but is always as close as our ability to return to it. Life’s value does not lie in what can be measured, listed on a resume, or added to a bank account. We might do different jobs or have differing levels of status or wealth, but we all fundamentally seek happiness and all find it in the same place: in ourselves.

32 Ram Dass Quotes on Love, Life, Silence and Suffering

In 1963, in the midst of the psychedelic revolution, a Harvard professor of Psychology was dismissed for allegedly giving psilocybin to one of his students.

The professor, known at the time as Richard Albert, along with another professor, Timothy Leary, established a communal group for exploration of consciousness with psychedelics. Their experiments had a profound impact on the culture of the time.

Albert became fascinated by achieving states of higher consciousness. He was beginning to realise that drugs offered only a possibility to see some aspect of truth, they wouldn’t allow you to become that truth. In 1967 he decided to travel to India, where he would meet his guru Neem Karoli Baba and receive his new name Ram Dass meaning “servant of God.”

Ram Dass since became a lead voice in the movement of Eastern Spirituality to the West. Despite having suffered a severe stroke in 1997, paralysing the right side of his body, Ram Dass has continued to teach. Now in his mid-80’s, his wisdom is a testament to an intense fifty-year devotion to spirituality.

Here are 32 of the greatest Ram Dass quotes on love, life, silence and suffering.


“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

“I’m not interested in being a “lover.” I’m interested in only being love.”

“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion – and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”

“When we see the Beloved in each person, it’s like walking through a garden, watching flowers bloom all around us.”

“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”

“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”

Ram Dass comes from a traditional called Bhakti Yoga. This path is oriented towards using love as a tool for awakening. That love typically manifests itself in the form of worship, either towards a guru or a deity, however even love towards someone else or an idea can be powerful enough to create long-lasting change. Existential Psychologist Viktor Frankl similarly believed that commitment to something greater than us, in the form of love, was the way to create unbelievable strength in human beings.

In psychology, love is in generally known as an emotion that requires directing towards something else – an object or concept. However, in the form of spirituality that is practised by Ram Dass, love is universal and can be perpetuated for its’ own sake.

As Ram Dass says:

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”


“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t truth that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”

“When you know how to listen everybody is the guru.”

“Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.”

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”

“The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.”

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”

“Learn to watch your drama unfold while at the same time knowing you are more than your drama.”

“As long as you certain desires about how it out to be you can’t see it how it is.”

Ram Dass was one of the first well known Westerners (and academics) to popularise the philosophy of the East. One of his strengths, therefore, was the ability to explain Eastern concepts in a way that was relevant to the way of life of practitioners in the United States. This is clear in his advice, which is simple and concise and continues to be sought out by thousands of people every year from all walks of life.


“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”

“In mystical traditions, it is one’s own readiness that makes experiences exoteric or esoteric.

The secret isn’t that you’re not being told.

The secret is that you’re not able to hear.”

“If you rest in the silence inside, all those you meet will have their spiritual hearts resuscitated.”

“External silence can be the doorway to inner silence.”

“All spiritual practices are illusions created by illusionists to escape illusion.”

“We’re fascinated by the words- but where we meet is the silence behind them.”

Many of Ram Dass’ teachings often use the experience of silence as a directive. As is common in nondual traditions, silence is used as a pointer to experience deeper peace, presence and equanimity. This is because silence is something we can all relate to, and though we often fear or resent noise in our life, it is typically because we can’t look beyond (or behind) the noise and experience the silence that is simultaneously permeating our moment-to-moment experience.

Ram Dass explains that silence “is something [he’s] been cultivating for 45 years now.” While thoughts and feelings arise and sometimes leave us agitated, if we can focus on the silence in even the most chaotic moments, we will be able to experience a profound peace that becomes a great assistance in our daily life.


“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.”

“Suffering is the sandpaper of our incarnation. It does its work of shaping us.”

“Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings.”

“A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there’s work to be done.”

“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn’t create more suffering. I help people as I work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.”

“Suffering is part of our training program from becoming wise.”

Suffering is an inevitable part of human experience. In the Buddhist and Hindu traditions however, our attention allows it to become something that is inevitably transforming. Ram Dass himself experienced a near fatal-stroke that greatly impeded his ability to express himself physically. However, his spiritual training allowed him to use this experience to teach him something about the nature of reality, experience and being a human being. In his book Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying, he says:

“Before the stroke I wrote a great deal about the terrible things that can happen in aging, and how to cope with them. Now I’m happy to say that having gone through what some would view as the worst, it’s not so bad after all.Getting old isn’t easy for a lot of us. Neither is living, neither is dying. We struggle against the inevitable, and we all suffer because of it. We have to find another way to look at the whole process of being born, growing old, changing, and dying, some kind of perspective that might allow us to deal with what we perceive as big obstacles without having to be dragged through the drama. It really helps to understand that we have something — that we are something — which is unchangeable, beautiful, completely aware, and continues no matter what.”

BONUS: 5 Ram Dass Lectures to Drastically Change your Perspective on Life

Ram Dass on Psychedelics and Enlightenment

Ram Dass on Dissolving the Fear and Finding Your Own Beauty

Ram Dass on How We Can Accept Ourselves More

Ram Dass on the Dark Night of the Soul

Ram Dass on Suffering and Karma